The Hall at VISTA Palazzo Verona, Verona, Italy

VISTA Palazzo Verona
Verona, Italy


VISTA Palazzo Verona, once a palazzo occupied by local grandees, originally dates from the 15th century. This five-star boutique hotel, in the heart of Verona in Italy’s northeastern Veneto region, features a quietly elegant white Classical façade on the narrow street Corticella Leoni, its windows crowned with pediments picked out in cream: it stands out from the crowd in all the right ways.

The location of VISTA Palazzo Verona in the city’s picturesque ‘Centro Storico’ (historic centre) gives more of a clue to its exclusivity. Its proximity to Porta Leoni, an ancient Roman gate, anchors it to Verona’s heritage, and the property’s interior prides itself on its context, riffing off such local sites as the city’s Arena amphitheatre, which is depicted on a semi-abstract image on one of its landings. 

Nor does this hotel feel the need for a showy approach: our taxi rocked up casually on a cramped spot suitable only for quick drop-offs (and pick-ups). Nonetheless, a small army of porters suddenly materialised to divest us of our luggage, while friendly reception staff greeted us warmly.

Structurally, the six-storey hotel with its compact footprint is all about verticality. A central staircase or lift rises to the hotel’s restaurant Sottovoce and the rooftop Infinity Bar, which boasts 360° views of Verona, and a party-pad vibe. Guests can also descend to a subterranean spa – a calm sanctuary with a pool, gym and spa suite offering soothing treatments. The first, second and third floors are home to 16 suites of four grades.

The hotel’s interior, overseen by Italian designer Maurizio Maggi, sharply contrasts with its exterior. Inside, the atmosphere is moodier, cocooning and opulently furnished in a style that marries 1920s Art Deco splendour and 1950s glamour. The hall’s floor is of charcoal grey marble and its walls are part-panelled in humidor-hued joinery. Armchairs upholstered in fiery burnt orange or limpid periwinkle blue enliven the space, which has a cosily nocturnal vibe.

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While you’re Out There
Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amistá is a stately, 16th-century Palladian villa fronted by a fountain and surrounded by romantic gardens. Organic produce cultivated in its garden and orchard provides fresh, seasonal ingredients for its 1-Michelin-starred Ristorante Amistá, where gastronomy and art collide. Established by the founder of Italian fashion label Byblos, the hotel is filled with arresting, flamboyant modern and contemporary art and design in a theatrical interior devised by late legendary designer Alessandro Mendini and Byblos Casa. We started our visit with cocktails in Peter’s Bar – and an obligatory round of ‘Name the artist’ as we perused the exuberant collection of artworks and design pieces on show. 

Ristorante Amistá is overseen by chef Mattia Bianchi, who devises four menus annually, reflecting the four seasons. Seated beneath artist Vanessa Beecroft’s striking chromogenic print VB52, we enjoyed such dishes as Venetian-style fish stew, ‘Fioreta’ gnocchi, baby cuttlefish and purple artichoke and a dessert called Abstract Composition: a mouthwatering medley of Grand Marnier, caramelised apricot sauce, apricot sorbet, crème caramel mousse and vanilla sablé. As you’d expect in this setting, aesthetics come to the fore, and Abstract Composition mimics an early 20th-century abstract canvas in miniature.

Its ritzy style recalls the colourful, exuberantly patterned interiors of Italian mid-century designer Gio Ponti, who designed the interiors of several ocean liners and promoted Italian design via his influential magazine Domus. Furniture by upscale Italian brands Minotti and Baxter, fabrics by venerable Italian textile house Dedar and bespoke Chinoiserie panels with cornflower blue backgrounds in the hotel’s public areas all add to the rich aesthetic. The suites too are opulent. Each has its own characterful, retro yet chic colour scheme and bathroom with a marble vanity unit and capacious bath, with several adapted for guests with disabilities.

Spas often look clinical but that at VISTA Palazzo Verona has a sumptuous feel with walls clad in rich-toned cedarwood or painted jade green. Less impressive was a slightly cheesy mural of Romeo and Juliet, the city’s fabled doomed lovers. Happier encounters than theirs, Night Manager Luca told us, can be found in Caffè degli Artisti, a friendly bar on Via Leoncino and one of several venues serving Verona’s LGBTQ+ community. He also recommended Milord, a club night held on the first and last Sunday of every month at Club Berfi’s.

In the intimate Sottovoce restaurant, guests do indeed talk sotto voce, as if exchanging confidences. Or perhaps the space’s tranquillity is inspired by the cuisine’s intriguing twists on classic flavours, often achieved with the help of aromatic herbs grown on-site by Executive Chef Fabio Aceti, whose CV includes spells at prestigious restaurants and hotels in Paris, London and Milan. Seasonal ingredients are locally sourced. By contrast, chat in the compact Infinity Bar on the roof is animated. It’s a great spot to sample some Veneto wines while drinking in views of Verona’s well-preserved saffron and ochre buildings and the mountains near Lake Garda in the far distance. |

Photography courtesy of VISTA Palazzo Verona

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